Young fastpitch stars on both sides of the border showcasing their talent at NAFA World Series

Written by Bob on August 19th, 2017

ALEX STRAUGHTON, 20, and KYNAN TARNOWSKI, 23, play for the Coyotes of Conquest, Saskatchewan, Canada in the age 23-Under NAFA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

FARGO – Hundreds of miles and a border separate Parker Lyga and Kynan Tarnowski, but for one weekend at the NAFA World Series they come together to share a common bond, a fondness for the game of fastpitch softball, and an intense desire to take home a World Series championship trophy.

Lyga, 22, from La Crosse, Wisconsin and Tarnowski, 23, of Conquest, Saskatchewan, Canada, are playing in the NAFA 23-Under World Series.

Tarnowski with the Coyotes of Conquest, Lyga with Mike Steiner Construction.

As a pitcher, Tarnowski has seen double duty in the 23-Under and in the A Division. So far, so good.

He’s pitched four innings of relief in the Coyotes first 23-under game, coming out on top 7-5, and in the A Division, he’s allowed just a single run in 12 innings and has crafted a 2-0 record.

Though he’s only 23, he’s a veteran in years of experience.

“I started playing fastpitch when I was eight,” he said. “I switched to baseball, but only played a year and came back to fastpitch. It’s more fun and it’s faster.”

Alex Straughtman, 20, is also seeing action with the Coyotes at shortstop and third base. He started out playing hardball, but three years a go made the move to fastpitch.

Why?

“My friends were playing (fastpitch) and it’s fun playing the game with them,” said Straughtman.

For the most part, the Coyotes came with the same team that plays together in a men’s league. They’ve won two of three pool play 23-Under games, with the goal of reaching Sunday’s championship game.

For Lyga, he would like nothing better than seeing his Mike Steiner Construction team reach that title game and square off with the Canadians.

A “border battle,” so to speak.

But regardless of the World Series outcome, he’s already making plans for next season.

“I want to learn to pitch,” Lyga said. “We’re starting a league-team of young guys in La Crosse next year. I’ve got seven guys who want to play right now.”

ISAIAH GILBERTSON of Mike Steiner Construction hits a single up the middle, then stole second base in a 23-Under pool play game against Minnesota Computers, Saturday. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

Isaiah Gilbertson is another young fastpitch player, who like many, transition to fastpitch when their baseball playing days wind down.

“I played (baseball) at Western Tech College in La Crosse,” said Gilberston, 21. “I still play a little baseball, but I like the fast pace of fastpitch.”

Now, if only the sport can find more just like them – on both sides of the border.

Click on 23-Under World Series to follow the results

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